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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Not at Build née PDC

This if the first year I’ve missed the PDC (now Build) since 2003.  I originally dismissed going because it seemed all about Windows 8 (Client).   Once it became clear that it is a full PDC I thought “I should go”, but then decided “eh, last one wasn’t such a big deal.”

Anyway, I’m not there this year.  I think I will go next time, if only because it seems weird *not* to be there.

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BizSpark Graduation Offer


Somesegar just announced that Microsoft is letting BizSpark Startups keep their production licenses after they graduate. 

The program is designed to get people hooked on the Microsoft platform.  They just removed a major hurdle for companies who were worried about what happens after they exit the program (not that the licensing issue goes away, mind you).  Anyway, BizSpark was already a great deal for startups with a Microsoft bent and now it is a lot better.

Great move by Microsoft.  The Microsoft developer story is truly a great one, and getting better all the time.

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#PDC10 Keynote Roundup

PDCs used to be something special, only reserved for big announcements or trends for Microsoft / Developers.  Of course, they used to be bigger too – regardless of Ballmer’s calling this the biggest PDC ever.  Holding it in Redmond, keeping it down to two days, limiting the attendees to 1000 (or so?) are all indicative of this PDC change. Will it be permanent?  Who knows, but I do wonder why they held it now.

Ray Ozzie was sorely missed in the keynote.  I can’t help but wonder if this PDC was put on just to show that Microsoft is still developer focused even with Mr. Ozzie’s departure.  Ballmer did a fine job this morning, but without Bill Gates and now no Ozzie, it doesn’t feel the same.

Anyway, in terms of the announcements (i.e., the “reveals”), not too much and nothing I would say is truly big.

There are lots of announcements though, but mostly they are incremental additions to existing products (e.g., all the new Azure enhancements) or the completion of initiatives that have been in process for years (e.g., Dallas).

All together the announcements show terrific strides for the Azure platform making it all the more compelling.

Windows Mobile 7 is also pretty cool.  I don’t know I’ll every use it, but I can see why a lot of people will.  I think they’ll have a homerun here.

Here is a live view on my PDC10 tweets:


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Thank you, Google! Chrome starts supporting WSR!

Some time ago I posted that I was abandoning Chrome until it supports Windows Speech Recognition (WSR). 

I did go back to Chrome after some time as I became more embroiled in the different Google Apps services, but I have always found it irritating that speech recognition wasn’t supported.

Every once in awhile I try it again and found today an important improvement.

WSR does work in GMail now, albeit just with the “dictation scratchpad”, but that is a big improvement.  It doesn’t quite work in Google Docs, but I’m hopeful they’ll get that working soon.

Thanks, Google!

BTW: I actually don’t know if this is Google’s doing or the result of a Windows patch . . . I hope it is the former, otherwise this is likely the end-state.

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Going to PDC10?

RegisterPDC10 is coming up in late October. I signed up for it knowing it was Azure-centric, but I am glad to see that there is also a .NET track.  I hope this will include non-Azure server side technologies (e.g., EF, AppFabric for Windows Server and the like). Of course these other pieces all have their place (or counterparts) in Azure, but I don’t think I’ll be using Azure directly over the next year.

PDC’s are quite valuable to attend (access to Microsoft product teams, exposure to their roadmap, opportunity for light-bulb” moments, etc).  That said, I may decide not to go after the session list is released – a simple balancing of priorities.

Anyway, I’ll likely keep my registration – I would actually love it if Microsoft could change my plans about Azure this October.

Are you going? Or not? If so, please share your reasons.

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Going to PDC 2009

PDC09Bling_General_ThreadsConnected_136I’m going to PDC 2009 November 17th – 19th. 

Aside from releasing Azure, I expect it will be mostly about VS 2010.  I’m sure there will be a “reveal” or two to get excited about too.  At least I hope so.

The best part of conferences is meeting new people and catching up with friends and colleagues.

If you are going too and want to meet up, let me know. 

email me: robert at rwandering dot net.

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Abandoning Chrome until it supports WSR

I use speech recognition a great deal – and I recently switched to Windows Speech Recognition on Vista.  And I’ve been using Chrome exclusively for Google Apps, because I think it offers superior performance for JavaScript apps.

Unfortunately, Chrome doesn’t support WSR.  According to Rob Chambers this would be easy for Google to do, and I suspect it is just an oversight on their part (both in terms of making their software more accessible as well as following Windows best practices).

Google:  when are you going to put the effort into this?  The Chrome 2.0 Beta doesn’t do it either.

Rob Chambers: how easy is this really?  You also said that Firefox does support WSR – maybe it does, but not in Google Docs.

So now, I’m using IE8.  Google Docs with WSR works great there.

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Live Messenger Team: no connectivity popups!

I’ve been seeing lots of problems with Live Messenger connectivity lately.  I see this message a lot:


I don’t ever want Live Messenger to interrupt my work with that dialog.

If connectivity fails, use a notification balloon, or better yet, do nothing.  The red X on the tray icon already signifies trouble.  Let me drill down to find out more info.  This is a bad design decision.

If I dismiss the dialog, it will happen again.  And if I don’t dismiss it?  Well,

I left my machine from 9pm till 11am today and found my taskbar full:


Apparently Live Messenger thinks it is so important that I can’t connect that it needs to keep telling me.  Or at least telling the task bar.  This is a bug.

Live Messenger Team:  Please fix this.  I’m sure several of your myriad guidelines for Windows developers eschews any and all of this behavior. 

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Quick Thoughts on the SDS Announcement

While the changes coming to SQL Data Services (SDS) are not exactly news, I wanted to weigh in on it.

I was familiar with SSDS before I knew anything about Red Dog Storage Azure Storage.  When I found out about the latter, my initial concern was that Microsoft would confuse developers by offering two overlapping services. Such overlap isn’t too surprising considering that these two projects came out of competing parts of Microsoft.  At the time, there was a pretty consistent message that SDS would someday support relational operations, but to me that meant they should  hold off on SDS until that day came.

Microsoft often offers multiple technologies to solve specific problems — often this is a result of legacy technologies — in this case it seemed a shame to start off with such overlap.

Because of all this, I am very happy to see this clear differentiation between the Azure and SDS services.  This is a good decision for Microsoft, Microsoft developers, and given the roadmap for SDS, an excellent decision for Microsoft’s enterprise customers.

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Podcast on PDC2008

Last Wednesday, while still at PDC2008, I did a quick podcast with Colin Steele of the Search IT Channel.  From his introduction:

In this podcast, Microsoft developer Robert Anderson checks in from the Microsoft PDC 2008 in Los Angeles. Anderson, the chief technology officer for Microsoft partner Digipede Technologies in Oakland, Calif., says Windows Azure has a leg up on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, the Google App Engine and other cloud computing platforms. But when it comes to Windows 7, Microsoft has to do a lot more to move on from the “perceived failure” of Windows Vista.

Listen or download from here.

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